Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Lost in Translation

After a few decades of marriage, Barney and Arlene Ford have learned about the power of words and controlling the tongue.  This past Sunday, Patrick preached to us out of James 3:1-12.  It’s a passage that highlights the importance of how we use our tongues by demonstrating the ability that our words have for good or for evil.  It’s a passage that also calls us to consistently use our words for the praise of God and the building up of others.  Anyone with a tongue should be able to relate to the struggle and the challenge… 

In conjunction with this passage, Barney and Arlene Ford have been willing to share a testimony from their own lives about the miscommunication they have experienced in their marriage and the importance of controlling their tongues.  Enjoy (and learn from) their story:

Arlene and Barney Ford

When growing up I thought talking was just talking. The experience in my home was just like what everyone else experienced. At nineteen, when I became a Christian “foul” language was left behind in my new life.

Arlene and I married after college. Marriage turned out to be easy! Being the nice guy I thought I was, I would say to Arlene, “Where would you like to go for dinner?” Arlene’s response very often was, “I don’t know. Where would you like to go?” Knowing where I wanted to go for dinner and now believing that Arlene didn’t know, I would announce the location for dinner, satisfied that I had been sensitive and listened to Arlene. Arlene was inviting me into a conversation about where we would go to dinner, but I didn’t speak her more indirect language.

We got a view into the serious nature of how much we were missing one another when we stopped to visit my mother for a few hours on a trip to see both our parents. Back in the car and pulling away from my mother’s apartment Arlene said, “I am sorry, I guess we’ll never be able to go back.” Shocked and confused, I responded, “Why not!?!” Her answer, “Well, you and your mother had that terrible fight.” My response, “What fight?” What Arlene perceived as a relationship ending fight hadn’t even registered as an issue for me.

The intensity and expressions of anger in my home of origin and the nuanced gentleness of Arlene’s were miles apart. We spoke different languages and didn’t know it! At least I didn’t. My first response to Arlene as we struggled with this phenomena was, of course, “Speak up, mean what you say and say what you mean!”.

Sometime later, listening to the scripture being taught on the subject of communication in marriage the Lord said to me, “Learn to speak Arlene’s language.”

So began for me and for us the life long journey of listening, learning and speaking in our marriage.  

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